Preying on the Self-Published

Writer Beware has an excellent overview on PW Select and other "pay-for-review" scams that prey on self-published authors. They write, in part:

[…]no matter what altruistic motive the service offers to justify its fees, paid reviews are less an effort to expand review coverage to worthy books than an opportunity to make some extra cash by exploiting self- and small press-published authors' hunger for credibility and exposure.

Now there's a new entrant in the fee-for review arena: Publishers Weekly.[…]For a self- or small press-pubbed author with a quality book, therefore, PW Select could–just possibly–be an opportunity. Problem is, most writers believe their books are quality, whether or not that's so. Many, if not most, of the writers who pay the $149 won't have a prayer of getting a review (sorry, self-publishing advocates, it's true. Large numbers of self-published books suck). All they'll receive for their money is a listing–and while the reviews may attract attention, who will look at the listings? It's hard for me to imagine that anyone beyond the authors themselves will care.[…] PW Select is a moneymaking venture that feeds on self- and small press-pubbed authors' hunger for exposure, in full knowledge that the majority of the writers who buy the service will not benefit from it.

2 thoughts on “Preying on the Self-Published”

  1. Another downside is that for anyone whose work attracted a positive PW review in the past, that review now has no value either. Rather like Kirkus — a good Kirkus review was once worth citing because everyone knew that Kirkus took no prisoners.
    I guess when you’re selling off assets to survive, you reach a point where your integrity’s the only thing left to go.


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